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It's Time to Talk about Your Medications

THERE MAY BE REASONS TO MAKE A CHANGE

Medications being dispensed

It's important to regularly discuss your full list of medications and over-the-counter supplements with your primary care provider. During those conversations, you and your provider may discover reasons you should STOP or reduce a medication you are currently taking.

These are some common reasons your provider may order a change:

  • You take more than one medication that works the same way.
  • You take medications that work against each other.
  • You are taking the wrong dose for your gender, age, or weight.

Your risks for taking medications or supplements that should be stopped or reduced may be higher if any of the following is true:

  • You see more than one doctor and don't tell each one about ALL the medications you take.
  • You use more than one drugstore. The pharmacists may not know all the medications you take unless you tell them.
  • You're an older adult. As you age, your body slows down. Some medications stay in your body longer.
  • One medication gives you side effects, so you take another one to feel better.
  • You take herbs or vitamins without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first.

Please talk to your doctor about ALL your medications and supplements each year!
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

ASK QUESTIONS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MEDICATIONS

To get the most benefit from your medications, it’s important to understand WHAT you are taking, WHY you are taking it, and HOW to take it correctly.
Take this list to your doctor or pharmacist and be sure to ask each question for every one of your current medications.

  • What is the name of the medication, and what is it for?
  • How and when do I take it, and for how long?
  • What side effects should I expect, and what should I do about them?
  • Should I take this medication on an empty stomach or with food?
  • Should I avoid any activities, foods, drinks, alcohol, or other medications while taking this prescription?
  • If I take it once a day, is it best to take it in the morning or at night?
  • Will this medication work safely with my other prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and other supplements?
  • When should I expect the medication to begin to work, and how will I know if it’s working?
  • How should I store it?
  • Is there any other information I should know about this medication?
Adapted from www.bemedwise.org Story Divider

It’s Time for Your Flu Shot!

If you’ve already had your flu shot this season, thank you for taking care of yourself. If you haven’t, please consider getting this important vaccination as soon as possible. 
The flu strains that make up the vaccine change every flu season, so it’s important to get a shot each year.
Nearly everyone aged six months or older, including pregnant women, should be vaccinated. Some people should not get a flu shot, including some people with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, some people with compromised immune systems, those who are allergic to eggs or to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine, and infants under six months old.  If you are not feeling well, it is recommended that you postpone getting the flu shot until you are feeling better.
For more information on how the flu shot is covered under your US Family Health Plan, CLICK HERE or call Member Services. Story Divider

Billing/Collection Notices

Sometimes you may receive a bill from your health care provider's office or from a hospital billing office that asks you for a payment. If you receive what appears to be a bill for more than your appropriate copayment or coinsurance, please do not ignore it. Ignoring it may lead to the debt being sent to collections.

To avoid this, we recommend the follow actions:

  • Call the provider's billing office immediately to make sure they have all your insurance information. They may simply need your Martin's Point health plan information for billing. 
  • If they have all your correct insurance information, ask them to explain clearly what each charge is for. It could be that multiple visits had multiple copays. 
  • If you still believe that you do not owe the balance, please call Member Services at 1-888-674-8734. Please have your bill with you when you call. We will need information from the bill to review the charge and possibly follow up with the provider.

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'Tis the Season for Kids’ Colds!

CONSIDER A CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR ANTIBIOTIC USE
Child sneezing

Stuffy nose...cough...ear or sinus pain...fever? When your child is suffering from upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms, it's natural to want to help them feel better as quickly as possible. For many of us, that means reaching out to our child's doctor in hopes of getting a prescription for antibiotics for quick relief. But, as more providers follow updated guidelines for antibiotic use, parents can sometimes be left with questions, feeling frustrated and confused.

Why am I leaving the doctor's office without a prescription for my sick child?

Here are the most common reasons antibiotics may not be the right treatment for your child:

  • Most URIs are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. If your child's symptoms are caused by a virus, using antibiotics will not help your child feel better and won't keep others from catching the infection.
  • Using antibiotics for viral infections can be harmful to your child and others. Your child may have side effects and incorrect antibiotic use can cause the growth of bacteria that resist antibiotics.

How will I know if my child's infection is caused by a virus or by bacteria?

  • Viral and bacterial URIs share many of the same symptoms, so it is important to have your child seen by a doctor if symptoms seem more severe or last longer than what you would expect from a common cold. 

What is an "antibiotic contingency plan" and when is it right for my child?

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for your child but advise a waiting period before starting treatment. If symptoms do not improve after this waiting period, you may fill the prescription and begin treatment.

  • Most viral URIs resolve within one to two weeks. In the meantime, acetaminophen, throat lozenges, rest, and liquids can often help your child feel better.
  • Make sure to discuss with your child's doctor how long you should wait before using the antibiotic and resist the temptation to start antibiotics early. This strategy will help keep your child from getting unneeded medications and side effects, and it will ensure they get the right medications, if needed.

To learn more about antibiotics and common respiratory illnesses, CLICK HERE.

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White Chicken Chili

A FEW CHANGES MAKE THIS RECIPE HEARTY AND HEALTHY!
Chili recipe photo

Enjoy this hearty chili and warm up those cold winter nights. Substitute low- or non-fat sour cream and cheese to reduce calories!

For the recipe, CLICK HERE.

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